VICARIOUS LIABILITY IN TORT OF LAW

INTRODUCTION

Tort, in common law or civil law, is an act or wrongful act in which harmed to someone – one that infringes on the rights of other. Plaintiff can suit filed against the defendant for tortuous act due to which endured the loss or harm by plaintiff. This article about vicarious liability one of kind of liability under tort of law.

Vicarious liability means the liability of one person for an act committed/done by another person. Vicarious liability arises in certain kinds of relationship between two people and connected with that relationship. Example: A, is a driver who work under B, while driving negligently A hit C. In such case even though B was not driving the car, he will still be liable for the accident which was caused due to the negligence of A.

Relationship in which vicarious liability arises:

  1. Master and servant
  2. Principle and agent
  3. Independent contractor.

Vicarious liability

 In case of vicarious liability in the general principles are involved:

Qui facit per aliium facit per se : It means that whenever a person get something done by another person then the person viewed to be doing such an act himself.

ILLUSTRATION- If A is the owner of many trucks and employs drive them the purpose of trade and in case one of his driver gets into an accident because his rash driving, then even thought A did not drive the truck himself, he will be liable for the accident.

Respondent superior: It means that the superior should be held responsible for the act done by his subordinate.

MASTER AND SERVANT

Master is a person who employees a person (servant) to work for him on his direction. The servant doesn’t work according to his will, he work under the instruction of his master. A master is held liable for the act of his servant which is done by him during the course of employment. Master and servant both have jointly liability for the act of the servant

ESEENTIALS-

  1. The tort has to be done or committed by the master’s servant
  2. The tort committed to be done during the course of employment.

ILLUSTRATIONS

  • A nurse while giving injection to a patient, negligently insert in nerves and start swelling and causing unbearable pain to the patient.

The hospital authority will be held liable for her act as it was done in the course of her employment.

  • X is reporter on the staff of a newspaper, He publish libel against B. the management of newspaper held be liable. Because X is servant of NEWSPAPER and he is working under course of employment.

CASE LAW 1: RICKETTS V. THOMAS TILLING LTD

Fact:     The driver who had been authorized to drive the bus, the driver feel tired and ask to the conductor to drive the bus for some time.

The conductor while driving the bus does so quite negligently and hurt a pedestrian X.

Judgment: Held, the master was liable for the negligence of the driver.

CASE LAW 2: MORRIS V. CW. MARTIN & SONS LTD

Citation: [1966] 1 QB 716

Fact:     the defendant was running a dry cleaning services. A fur coat entrusted to him for dry cleaning was stolen by one of the servant of the company.

Judgment: Held, the defendant was liable for the theft of the services.

PRINCIPAL AND AGENT

General principle – Qui Facit per alium facit per se ( he who acts through another is acting himself). Thus, where the Agent work under the expressed or implied authority of his principle, the principle will be held liable for his acts provided done during the course of his employment or as an agent.

CASE LAW 1: LLOYD V. GRACE SMITH & CO.                

Citation: (1912) AC 716, L

FACT:    Mrs. Lloyd who owned some cottage but she is not satisfied with salary, she wanted to sell her cottages. For this purpose she went to G.S. & CO’S office, where she meet a clerk of G.S. & CO. the clerk in this case worked in law firm and he is committed a fraud with a client in the course of his performance as an agent.

Judgment: G.S. & CO. were held liable for the fraud of the clerk as the fraud was committed in the course of employment.

CASE LAW 2: STATE BANK OF INDIA V. SHYAMA DEVI

Citation: AIR (1978) SC 263

Fact:     In this case a person “A” had opened a bank account with bank Z. he had a friend “B” who worked for this bank as employ, So “A” instead of going to the bank deposited money he used to give the money deposited to his friend “B” took advantage of this and kept money for himself. When such discrepancies were noticed by “A”, he decides to file a suit against Z.

Judgment: A principle “Z” is liable for the fraud or wrongs committed by an agent in the course of his business or employment.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

Independent contractor is not a servant because he does not work under control of any person. He uses his own discretion and he is master of his own.

For instance I hire a taxi, the driver of that taxi is not my servant, and therefore I will not be held liable for taxi driver’s negligence.

Exception: there is some exception when master is liable for the tort committed by independent contractor, this is in case of strict liability, master held liable for the act of independent contractor, such cases as RYLAND VS. FLETCHER.

CASE LAW 1: DEVENDRA SINGH VS MANAGL SINGH

Citation:  A.I.R. 1981 Punj. & Har.53

Fact:    Devendra singh, A truck owner entrusted his truck to service centre. The owner of the services centre drives that truck and injured a cyclist, mangal singh.

Judgment: Here Devendra Singh owner of the truck was not vicariously liable    because the owner of the services centre was working as an independent contractor.

CASE LAW 2: RYLANDS VS FLETCHER

Citation: (1868) L R 3 (HL) 330

Fact: the owner of a mill, employed a contractor to construct a reservoir on his land to provide water to his land, because of scope of water, plaintiff coal mine was flooded caused damage.

Judgment: defendant was held liable though reservoir was constructed by the independent contractor. Principle of strict liability was applied

CONCLUSION

In law of tort, vicarious liability is a type of liability which arises over the principle for such acts done by principle’s agent or doing of that act during the course of employment. Principle shall be liable for compensate on behalf of agent.

Aishwarya Says:

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